Amid protests, county approves liquor license for Clifton store

Mesa County commissioners on Monday granted a liquor license to a third liquor store within a three-block stretch in Clifton, overruling store owners who lamented that the decision could lead to a boost in illegal sales to minors and jeopardize their businesses.

The board voted 2–1 — Commissioner Steve Acquafresca dissented — to issue the license to Maverik Inc. for a store the Utah-based company will open at 3249 F Road. The liquor store will be located inside a convenience store, the first liquor store of its kind in Mesa County.

Lynn Rasmussen, regional vice president for Maverik, said after Monday’s hearing that he was “extremely happy” with the commissioners’ decision and said the store should open in mid-September.

Competing liquor store owners, however, were miffed.

“Our commissioners just stabbed us in the back,” Mount Garfield Wine and Liquor owner Kent Balog said.

Maverik’s liquor store will be sandwiched between Mount Garfield, 3233 Interstate 70 Business Loop, and Clifton Liquors, 3255 F Road. Coronado Liquor Mart, 569 32 Road, is about a half-mile away.

Maverik collected signatures from more than 60 residents who live within a mile of the store indicating their support for the liquor license. Other liquor stores countered with petitions signed by more than 600 people opposing the license, although dozens who signed live outside the neighborhood.

“We just have issues with the saturation in the area,” Clifton Liquors owner James Vezakis said.

In addition, liquor store owners said the variety of customers drawn to the mix of products offered by Maverik will make it difficult to monitor underage buyers. They contended stores that sell strictly alcohol offer a more controlled buying environment.

As part of the approval of the liquor license, the county attached conditions requiring Maverik to keep the liquor store separate and distinct from the convenience store and maintain a separate register in the liquor store.


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